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Understanding Dementia: A Course for Relatives is a Course

Understanding Dementia: A Course for Relatives

Ended Nov 6, 2017

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Full course description

Course Date:

Oct 2 - Nov 6, 2017


5 weeks


3-5 hrs/week



Course Type:





This is a course primarily meant for people who have a relative suffering from dementia or who suspect dementia in a relative. However, people working professionally in the field can also benefit from the course – especially by obtaining an understanding of the perspectives of the relative of a demented person.

The structure of the course follows the progression of the diseases of dementia – from the first suspicion of something being wrong to the fatal end.

The course will provide knowledge on the four most common types of dementia diseases: Alzheimer’s dementia, Multi Infarct dementia, Frontotemporal dementia, and Lewy Body dementia.

The course consists of five modules over 5 weeks. Each module deals with the following four perspectives on each disease:

  1. Medical symptoms
  2. How these appear in daily life
  3. What can you do?
  4. Being a relative

Each perspective in a section will contain two levels: one providing plain-language explanations of the subject with small film clips and simple exercises, the other allowing you to delve deeper into the subject with links to scientific literature and to works of art, e.g. movies and novels about what it is like to be the relative of a demented person.

The course will have video lectures, small movies, exercises and links to scientific articles and works of art for those interested in delving deeper into the topics covered. Also, you will engage with other participants via activities in discussion forums, just as there will be a Twitter account and a Facebook group associated with the course.

A certificate of completion will be available to those who meet the requirements of the course.

You can read more about VIA University College and our background for offering the MOOC here.


The course will give you knowledge about:

  • The medical symptoms of the four most common diseases of dementia and the course of the syndromes.
  • How the diseases appear in everyday life from the beginning to the end.
  • How to handle the problems met during the course of the illnesses.
  • What the caregiver burden is.
  • How to cope with the burden as a relative.

Target Audience: Those who have a relative suffering from dementia or who suspect dementia in a relative.

Course is offered by VIA University College.

Course Instructors

Karen Pallesgaard Munk

Karen Pallesgaard Munk


Karen Pallesgaard Munk is research leader of Center for Research on Ageing and Dementia, VIA University College, Denmark, and associate professor at Aarhus University. Read More.

Karen has an MSc (psychology) and a PhD in geropsychology. She has a long career as a teacher at the universities in Denmark and as researcher into the psychology of ageing. She has been head of a research center of geropsychology at the Dept. of Psychiatry at the University Hospital in Aarhus and at Aarhus University. She has also been chairman of the Danish Gerontological Society.

Karen has authored many articles and co-authored books on the psychology of ageing. Furthermore, she has developed a research method for analyzing stress and coping strategies for people who suffer from all kinds of burdens in life, among these the burden of being a relative of a person suffering from dementia.

Lilli Dam

Lilli Dam


Lilli Dam is a senior lecturer at the Aarhus School of Nursing, VIA University College, Denmark. Read More.

Lilli is a Registered Nurse (RN) and has a Master’s degree in Public Health (MPH). During her career as a RN, Lilli worked as a mental health nurse at Aarhus University Hospital. Lilli teaches public health science, health informatics, and nursing organization, also with a focus on dementia care and assistive technology for dementia. Related to her MPH, Lilli’s interests comprise health promotion and enabling people to increase their control of their own health and to improve their health.

Jane Ege Moeller

Jane Ege Moeller, MA, PhD


Jane Ege Moeller is Assistant Professor at Centre for Medical Education, Aarhus University, and Course Manager for The Postgraduate Medical Training in Communication for interns in Region of Central Jutland, Denmark. Read More.

Her background is in communication, literature and philosophy. Jane works in the field of humanistic health research and has extensive experience in the development of courses and educational programs for health professionals, focusing on communication with patients and relatives, ethics and health promotion. Jane has published on medical communication, narrativity and medicine, qualitative methodology, as well as philosophy of health.